Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons – it’s all good

thPete the cat is losing the groovy buttons on his favorite shirt, but will he cry?

Litwin, Eric (author), Dean, James (illustrator) Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons (2012)  Harper Collins ISBN 978-0- 06-211058-9  32pp. $16.99  Formats:  Hardcover   iBook for iPad  App  Kindle  Reading Level / Grade Level Equivalent: 2  Interest Level: preK – 2  Genre: Comedy and Humor  Major Themes: Cats, Music, Numbers and Math, Positive Thinking

Summary:  Pete puts on his favorite shirt with four colorful buttons. He loves his shirt so much, Pete starts to sing. Throughout the day, the buttons pop off one at a time, but the cool cat takes it all in stride.  In the end, Pete reveals the one groovy button he will never lose…  his belly button.

Review:  Much like the first book in this series (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes), Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons is a storytime winner in a series that features an upbeat hero who stays positive in disappointing situations. The book comes with its own catchy song (which2 is available for download).  After I read the first two Pete the Cat books (and sang their catchy downloadable songs with students during storytime), a Pete the Cat craze swept the school where I worked.  These books were a huge hit with all my students who ranged in age from 3 to 7 years old (and their teachers).  For teachers and parents, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes teaches colors and addition and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons tackles subtraction. The illustrations (including Pete’s cool expressions) are vibrant and easy-to-see from a distance.  The fact that this story is available in iBook format for iPad makes it another welcome addition to new media storytime.

Storytime:  4There are many repeated elements in all the Pete the Cat stories.  Children will enjoy being cued to help you tell the tales. One part of this particular story I really enjoy is when Pete reveals that he actually gets to keep one button forever… his belly button!  Kids will giggle when Pete shows his belly button. This makes for a fun moment in a group scenario.  During storytime, you can also sing-along with the free Pete the Cat songs available for download at Harper Collins.  Children will find it easy to pick up each song’s chorus and you will have fun watching kids rock out to Pete’s tunes.

Performance Tips:  Create interactive sing-alongs with the free Pete the Cat songsIf you’re reading one-on-one with a child, just hit play and follow along with the story.  If you want to have an interactive musical group experience, I recommend reading the verses live and playing the recorded choruses to facilitate singing-along (edit out the verses with Garage Band).
1Follow these steps:
  1. get the iBook, app or printed book (and download the song from the Pete the Cat website per the book’s instructions)
  2. drag and drop the song file into Garage Band
  3. edit out the verses and string together the choruses (with 2 seconds in between each chorus for pausing)
  4. name, save and send your new song file to your iTunes library 
  5. add the file to your storytime playlist
  6. bring your playlist of music to storytime on your device (I use my iPad or iPhone)
  7. during storytime, sync your playlist with audio speakers (you can be wired or go wireless with bluetooth)
  8. pause the song while reading the verses
  9. play the song when you reach its sing along-friendly chorus parts

5Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  Pete the Cat is an extremely likable role model for children. The blue feline hero consistently looks for and finds the sunny side of life.  He models resourcefulness and emotional strength (even when life hands him lemons).

Read-alikes:  Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (2010),  Hello, Goodbye Window (2006), A Ball for Daisy (2012), Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, an introduction to the great saxophone player and composer Charlie Parker (1997).

Links:  Eric Litwin’s website  James Dean’s website (  Publisher’s Pete the Cat website  Scholastic   teaching ideas

Significance/Honors:  2012 #1 New York Times bestseller

Other Reviews:  Goodreads   Kirkus

Why I chose it:  I chose to review the Pete the Cat books because I am looking for storytime materials and these books come with their own songs.  Musical stories often make great storytime programming.  Plus, Pete is cool. 

3Make Reading More Fun

Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!